Due to a spate of bizarre rants from members of the 1 percent over the past two weeks, it would be easy to conclude that America’s super-rich have gone off the rails. A well-known billionaire Tom Perkins recently compared the plight of America’s economic elite to that of Jews in Nazi Germany. Fellow billionaire, Sam Zell, rushed to his side and declared the fascist comparison “right.” If these bizarre statements were merely the strange musings of lone, eccentric rich people, no one would care. But the problem is that what the ultra-wealthy think has a disproportionate influence over our political system and their economic values have dominated American economic policy for the last three decades. The disturbing truth is that these comments help to give insight as to why economic inequality is hardening and resistant to change.
Chronic racial and gender imbalances amongst the super-rich only add to their detachment from the world around them. Despite the glitter and visibility of black and Latino celebrities, black and Latino wealth is the lowest on record. The annual list of America’s richest four-hundred people, generated by Forbes, highlights alarming realities.